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Human Growth Hormone (HGH), also known as somatropin, is one of the most important hormones produced by the pituitary gland. Since the 1950's, scientists have been interested in HGH and its possible benefits for children and aging adults with HGH deficiencies. Today, scientists are still performing clinical studies and new benefits of HGH are continuing to be discovered.
HGH was first isolated in 1956, and its structure later identified in 1972. HGH is a microscopic protein secreted in short pulses during exercise and the first hours of sleep. HGH is responsible for the growth of bone and muscle, the regulation of metabolism, the flow of sugar to muscle and fat, the production of protein in the liver and muscle, and the production of fatty tissue. HGH also activates the insulin-like growth factor or IGF-1.
Scientists first began to use HGH to deal with stunted growth conditions in children. Ground-up pituitary glands were taken from cadavers and injected into children, resulting in their normal development and growth. From 1958 to 1985, cadaver-derived growth hormone was used to on 8,000 children in the U.S. Unfortunately, the process had two limitations: the lack of supply and the risk of transmitting viral infections. Luckily, the birth of genetic engineering solved these problems.
To create HGH in a lab, scientists use recombinant gene technology, whereby a gene is inserted into lab cell lines to produce the protein. The first recombinant human growth hormone (rHGH) was created by Genetech of San Francisco, California. It was approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 1985. Also in 1985, Keith Kelly, MD, a research scientist, verified that injected cells that produce high amounts of growth hormones could cause the withered thymus glands in old rats to grow to the size of a healthy, young rat.
In 1990, Dr. Daniel Rudman published his research on HGH in the New England Journal of Medicine. His research revealed the effective utilization of HGH for life extension, health, and longevity. His findings led to thousands of additional research studies on the benefits of HGH therapy.
While Dr. Rudman was conducting his research, scientists in England, Sweden and Denmark were also discovering remarkably similar results with HGH replacement therapy. Researchers found that patients using HGH therapy recovered from depression, anxiety, and fatigue brought on by pituitary disease and low levels of HGH.
In 1996, HGH was approved by the FDA for longevity and life extension therapy for older people with low IGF-1 levels, with a doctor's prescription. Eli Lilly Company secured the FDA's approval due its own research findings. The FDA has approved label indications for other uses of HGH due to successful clinical trials, including decreased production of growth hormone caused by pituitary tumors, side effects of medical therapy, ailments associated with aging, and chronic illness. In addition, research conducted in 2002 has led to the use of HGH for AIDs-related conditions.
Today, several companies produce and sell rHGH under various brand names, but it is very costly. Fortunately, alternatives to the prescription HGH are available including oral stimulators and supplements which claim to produce many of the same benefits as injected HGH. Before purchasing any of these, however, be sure to read product reviews available on the internet to make an informed decision that's right for you.
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